Educationally speaking, I have grown tremendously in the past few years. During my undergraduate study, I knew I wanted to pursue graduate education but I had no idea where to begin my quest or positive role models to model myself after. It was until I met you, Takiyah and you introduced me to to the McNair program that I began to see my hopes and aspirations materialize. Though the guidance of the McNair program I was able to learn, not only the importance of applying but also the process of applying to schools. Though daunting at times, the program was able to provide me with the tools to help develop and refine my research skills. You served as a role model that the hard work and preparation would prove to shape me into a better scholar.
Now fast forward a year and I am a Master’s student in the Popular Culture department at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. I have a full time teaching assistantship that requires me to instruct the introductory class to Popular Culture studies to a class full of 35 freshman three times a week. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I have a full course load of graduate classes. My improved work ethic and my preparation and diligence paid off as I completed my first semester with a 4.0 grade point average.
My research interest have also grown and developed. Currently I am focusing on ideas of commodified personas and Afro-Futurism and how they intersect with Hip Hop culture. More specifically I am exploring how technological enhancements in music turn musicians into half human –half techno cyborgs and how this process of “alien-nation” actually alienates the artist and counteracts the performance of blackness in Hip Hop culture. I’m also spending this time to work on my professional development. I have been invited to present my current research at two up incoming conferences. The first conference is the Battle Ground States Conference held here in Bowling Green, Ohio and the other presentation will take place in St. Louis, Missouri at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association International Conference. I have also been granted the opportunity to study abroad this summer in Tours, France where I will be learning French in June and I will spend July in Burkina Faso, Africa applying the French I’ve learned and taking African cinema and culture courses.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, and the McNair program for all the help, encouragement and instruction. I can truly say that I am where I am because of the opportunities afforded to me through the likes of you and the entire California State Eastbay educational community.
Sade Marie Young